NASA satellite image shows grim Australian fire devastation from space

Nearly 100 fires have torched an area bigger than Connecticut in New South Wales.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This Suomi NPP satellite image shows the massive amounts of smoke from actively burning fires, designated by the red spots.

NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS)

New South Wales in Australia is under stress from a heatwave and ongoing bush fires that are eating up the landscape. The ground is choked with smoke that has reached into Sydney while the view from space reveals the extent of the damage.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA operate the Suomi NPP satellite. NASA released the satellite's look at New South Wales from Monday. It shows a massive blanket of smoke emanating from active fires marked by bright red spots. 

"To date the size of the area burned is 1.5 times the size of the state of Connecticut (approximately 5.3 million acres of land)," NASA said. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service had logged 115 active fires as of Monday, with 59 of them still needing to be contained.

The fire threat looks like it may not let up for some time. "It has already been a challenging fire season and this is expected to continue," the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre tweeted on Sunday while warning of increased danger as the fire season progresses.

NASA's eyes in the sky will continue to monitor the fire situation in Australia. It's already bad, but it's likely to get worse.

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Originally published Dec. 16, 4:33 p.m. PT